Low housing costs coupled with low unemployment and an abundance of entertainment options helped Topeka, KS, land a spot on our list of the Best Affordable Places to Live. The Kansas capital provides residents with first-class attractions, art galleries and performing arts venues, expansive parks, nature trails and excellent schools. All this for a relatively low cost of living, more than 7 percent under the national average, according to The Council for Community and Economic Research.
Home prices in Topeka rank among the lowest on this list and come in about 18 percent below what you’ll find in most U.S. cities. The median home value in Topeka is $95,600, and most residents spend less than 27 percent of their incomes on housing costs.
Westar Energy, Collective Brands, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Goodyear form the foundation of Topeka’s economy. The city’s 4.3 percent unemployment rate draws in workers from all walks of life. Combine great employment opportunities with an affordable tax structure, and Topeka looks highly attractive to businesses.
Things to Do in Topeka
Beyond the usual fast-food chains are an assortment of independent restaurants, coffee shops and cafés in Topeka offering cheap meals. Some of the local favorites include The Shack Bar & Grill, Lonnie Q’s BBQ, Blackbird Espresso Bar and PT’s at College Hill. Attractions in Topeka include the Topeka Performing Arts Center, the Great Mural Wall of Topeka and historic Ward-Meade Park. City-owned parks, aquatic centers and community centers provide low-cost recreation options. Among the most popular parks is Gage Park, which includes the Topeka Zoo, a carousel and gardens. Many families utilize the facilities surrounding Lake Shawnee, which include a campground, marina, beach and gardens.